Trail Blazers v Suns: Round 1, Game 3 Preview
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/22/2010 10:59 AM

    Portland got what they wanted out of the first two games in Phoenix, a split. By doing so they stole home court advantage out of the grasp of the Suns, giving them an opportunity to take the series if they simply win home games the rest of the way. But it all starts tonight in Game 3, which should be the first real game of the series as Phoenix underestimated the Trail Blazers a bit in Game 1 and Portland likewise relaxed in their Game 2, 29 point shellacking. If both teams didn't know before what the other was capable of, they do now. Outside of getting their egos bruised, the Blazers received some good news as soon as they landed back home in the Rose City. First, the MRI on Batum's right shoulder confirmed a strain of the previously injured body part, putting him as a game-time decision for tonight, which is probably the best case scenario after seeing the injury live. Secondly, Brandon Roy seems like a lock to play in the 2nd round and maybe even sooner after his comments at Trail Blazers practice yesterday.

    If Phoenix is going to make stopping Andre Miller priority #1 on defense, then Aldridge must rise to the occasion. His 16.5 points on 39.3% shooting and 3.5 rebounds a game are not going to cut it, especially with Roy sidelined. He's not even seeing average defenders step up and lock him down either, its a combination of Jarron Collins and Channing Frye, two guys he should eat alive every time down in the post. What I've noticed when LA does get it down low, the defenders always give him baseline, but he rarely takes it, instead settling for a difficult turn around. It'd be nice to see him back either man down, fake to the middle, and proceed to go up and under his man for the easy two off of the window. There are only five defenders on the floor and they all can't hound Andre and Aldridge, so if a double comes, run a cutter to the basket. We should have absolutely no problems scoring at will on this team in the paint, but it takes the proper mindset.

    The biggest adjustment from Game 2 to Game 3 should be on the defensive end for Portland. Most would think finding ways to re-release Andre off of Hill should be tops on the list, but if we make those countless missed lay-ins, we easily break 100. It was on the other end of the floor which broke us. The fronting in the post which worked so beautifully in Game 1 was negated with crisp, precision passing in Game 2, leading to cheap points in the paint or kick outs to wide open shooters when someone rotated over. Not only did the fronting cause chaos for the Trail Blazers, as everyone seemed out of position, but it seemed like we couldn't buy a rebound either. They won the battle on the boards again, 43-34, and if they weren't racking up offensive rebounds they were in good enough position that all Portland could do was tap it out of bounds to prohibit put backs. The Trail Blazers best bet to slowing down the Suns should be to force them into shooting jump shots, even if it means playing off guys like Amare. This can also help defend the pick and roll with just two players, letting the other defenders stay at home on the three point shooters. I've said this before and I'll say it again, if they are going to beat us with contested jump shots, then so be it.

    For the Trail Blazers to take a 2-1 series lead tonight, two things must happen. First of all, their body language and movements needs to be sharper and more alert. They were a step slow in reacting to the Suns pressure, which caused for a lot of empty possessions. We all know the Suns will let you score, but you've still got to earn it. Also, Rudy Fernandez needs to wake up and do so quickly. Without Roy and Phoenix keying in on Dre, with he as the starting shooting guard, the Blazers need much more aggression out of him. Why wouldn't the Suns trap Miller at all costs if they know Fernandez isn't going to even look at the basket? This is one game maybe where you don't mind a couple turnovers from Rudy if he's showing signs of being in attack mode. If I'm Coach Nate, I run a few plays for Rudy right out of the gate to see where his body language is at and if his stroke looks right or not. A hot Rudy will ruin all Phoenix defensive strategies to this point and make us that much more difficult to prep for. If Rudy is able to get around 15 points and 5 assists, look for Portland to come away victorious.

    This is one game where I don't have a clue who is going to step up. Will Camby get 30 again? Can Batum and Bayless go off for 18 a piece once more? Does Andre break the Phoenix code and finally get loose? How does Fernandez react to being scrutinized by the media for really one of the first times in his career here? I'd love to tell you I have a prediction, but I don't. The only thing I'm sure of is how absolutely nuts the Rose Garden is going to be tonight. The energy inside that arena will be enough alone to give the Trail Blazers a boost on the defensive end and prove to be one of the most hostile environments an opposing team can play in. With nothing but blind faith in my team and a deafening crowd in their corner cheering them on, Portland finds a way, somehow, to gut out a gritty win.

    Round 1, Game 3 Prediction: Trail Blazers 102 Suns 98
    Trail Blazers/Suns Game 3 Preview
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  1. GuitarJ111
    Posts: 167

    Posted 04/22/2010 11:20 AM

    i have butterflies!! Go BLAZERS!
    I am a fan of the Blazers once again, rising above all odds and injuries!
  1. Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 04/22/2010 11:39 AM

    Today is going so slow, I fell like a kid on Christmas eve.

    Go Blazers !!!!
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. GuitarJ111
    Posts: 167

    Posted 04/22/2010 12:19 PM

    Im glad Im not the only one feeling this way!!  :)
    I am a fan of the Blazers once again, rising above all odds and injuries!
  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 04/22/2010 2:35 PM

    Today is going very slow..very nervous. I think we pull it out though. Camby is going to have one of his better scoring outputs of the series.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
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